SARAJEVO – The RISE Bootcamp, a six-day intense program consisting of workshops and training sessions, was organized in Sarajevo from 14 to 19 March. The Bootcamp brought together over 40 regional and international young entrepreneurs, trainers, experts, RISE Consortium representatives and decision-makers. During the event, young entrepreneurs officially accepted their 2500€ rewards for their business development and mobility. Within the second phase, the RISE project supported 12 social entrepreneurs teams with a total of 30.000€.
The RISE Bootcamp addressed the specific and crucial need in the region concerning its current context and history – it opened new spaces of reconciliation for the Western Balkans youth through social entrepreneurship. This collaboration of young people within the region is channeled through social entrepreneurship since it is the cornerstone of social change.
At the welcoming session of the Bootcamp, Mr Sylvain Rigollet, Cooperation Attaché of the French Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina stated that reconciliation in the Western Balkans is a major objective, but this cannot be achieved without thinking of the youth of this region who tend to leave.
“The questions of employment and activity are therefore also crucial questions to facilitate the reconciliation of young people with their own country as well as between them from different countries. Social entrepreneurship is an opportunity to strengthen these two types of links and allow the creation of activities and jobs. Local projects are expected to become regional and strengthen relations between the populations of the Western Balkan countries by allowing the sharing of innovative ideas by working for reconciliation,” Mr Rigollet pointed out.
“We at RYCO are especially proud of the RISE project. It has been the best school for the young participants, giving them opportunity to learn and practice from the best and coherent packages of training including youth topics, intercultural learning, social entrepreneurship, social business canvas, marketing strategy etc.,” Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ms Sandra Čule underlined.
Projects and Development Manager of GROUPE SOS Pulse, Ms Kelly Robin, agreed by saying that she believes that RISE is a great opportunity for young and talented social entrepreneurs to create a positive impact in the Western Balkans.
The prototyping and social business development training enabled young entrepreneurs to develop their projects, set up a concrete product and service prototype to be presented to potential partners and clients, and develop an action plan for the next steps of development. Several workshops on intercultural skills and gender entrepreneurship educated youth and reflected on modern ethical values and soft skills.
The peer learning session broadened entrepreneurs’ minds on the region, its social and environmental problems and different social business solutions developed to solve them by learning from each other. Finally, the RISE project was promoted to crucial stakeholders in the region and encouraged cooperation with new partners in the long term.
In the next four months of the Incubation Journey implementation, young entrepreneurs will be a part of the regional mobility scheme, while simultaneously developing their business ideas into a functional prototype. Results of both processes will be presented and promoted during the RISE Regional Forum to be organized this summer.
On the project
RISE Bootcamp has been supported by the European Youth Foundation and the Council of Europe, as well as the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO).
The RISE project is developed and monitored by a consortium composed of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), PULSE (GROUPE SOS), South East European Youth Network (SEEYN), Institut Francais, and the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ), and implemented by six local incubators: ARNO, Balkan Green Foundation, Nesto vise, Smart Kolektiv, IEC Tehnopolis and Yunus Social Business Balkans.
The general objective of RISE is to foster reconciliation in the Western Balkans through the promotion and strengthening of social entrepreneurship in the region. The project opens new spaces of reconciliation for the youth of the Western Balkans, through a regional program to support social entrepreneurship.
On social entrepreneurship
A social enterprise is an operator in the social economy whose main objective is to have a social impact rather than make a profit for their owners or shareholders. It operates by providing goods and services for the market in an entrepreneurial and innovative fashion and uses its profits primarily to achieve social objectives. It is managed in an open and responsible manner and, in particular, involves employees, consumers and stakeholders affected by its commercial activities.